Buttermilk Panna Cotta


Buttermilk Panna Cotta

“What’s the secret?” asked Sam. “It’s so bright and refreshing.”
I shrugged my shoulders, “Buttermilk? Lemon zest?”
Or maybe it was the simple act of eating panna cotta for breakfast that was so refreshing.
It’s always exhilarating to eat dessert for breakfast.

This dessert, though, was fitting for breakfast: the buttermilk and milk pudding thickened with gelatin was light and tangy like yogurt. And topped with fresh strawberries and raspberries, I could fool myself into eating this every morning. By all appearances, the panna cotta resembled a decadent, egg-rich crème brulee or flan. One spoonful, however, said otherwise: “Wait! So light? So refreshing? And so satisfying?” Yes, friends, this is panna cotta, the modest—yet glowing—cousin of those better known custards. Call it an understudy, but I’d like to cultivate a deeper acquaintance with this panna cotta, especially if it means eating it for breakfast.


2 tablespoons water
1½  teaspoons unflavored gelatin*
Nonstick vegetable oil spray**
1 cup whole milk
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 sprig of rosemary
2 cups buttermilk
Berries to garnish


Place the water and gelatin in a small bowl. Let stand until gelatin is softened, about 10 minutes. Lightly spray six ¾-cup ramekins with nonstick spray.

Heat milk, sugar, lemon peel rosemary in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring just to low boil, stirring occasionally. Add gelatin mixture; remove from heat. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Cool mixture to lukewarm, stirring often. Stir in buttermilk; divide mixture among prepared ramekins. Refrigerate panna cotta until set, about 4 hours.

Using small sharp knife, cut around panna cotta in each ramekin. Place a plate on top each ramekin and invert, allowing panna cotta to settle onto plate. Top with berries and serve chilled.

*Following the advice of the commenters on the Epicurious.com recipe, I increased the gelatin to 2 tsp. to get a firmer texture.

**I didn’t have vegetable spray, so I rubbed the ramekins with coconut oil instead. Even so, the panna cotta did not come out of the ramekins (maybe because I increased the gelatin). I decided the panna cotta would taste just as delicious served in the ramekin—and they did.

Adapted from Buttermilk Panna Cotta on Epicurious.com.

5 Thoughts on “Buttermilk Panna Cotta

  1. This sounds so good! I can’t wait to try it. Also, your picture is great.

  2. Wow, what a delicious shot! This panna cotta dish has just been added to our breakfast menu for tomorrow. Thank you!

  3. Erica on June 27, 2010 at 10:53 PM said:

    That’s what I always like– dessert for breakfast! Great way to start the day ;) (or at least put a smile on your face!) Looks delicious!

  4. Thank you! This looks amazing. I will try to replicate :)

  5. Daniela on January 12, 2013 at 7:20 AM said:

    To remove the Panna Cotta’s from the ramekins you just need to dip the container in hot water for a couple of seconds and then flip them out… works every time!

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